Praktyka Teoretyczna - 4(30)/2018
Feminist Movements in Central and Eastern Europe
Redaktor numeru: Julia Kubisa, Katarzyna Wojnicka
How it is to be an activist in a small or provincial town? Are the structural challenges the activists face the same as their counterparts from big cities, that are usually studied and described in academic literature? If the environment is different, do small town activists adopt other practices to cope with the challenges that stem from the different milieu they operate in? In this paper we try to answer some of those questions by looking at the organizers of Black Protests in provincial Polish cities in 2016 and afterwards. The protests organized to oppose the intended changes in the already repressive anti-abortion law not only surprised everybody with their scale and intensity, but also with their distribution, as majority of the protest events took place in small and provincial towns in Poland. This article aims at filling the gap within the social movement studies literature between analysis of activism in big cities (upon which majority of theories are constructed) and of rural activism.
As women have gained access to influence politics through official channels, social justice concerns of feminist activists started to be pursued through institutionalized forms of political intervention. The institutionalization and professionalization of the feminist movement were associated with feminist NGOs collaborating with gender-equality entities to advance the movement’s goals and achieve policy successes. While some scholars insisted on the benefits of infusing feminist ideas and practices within the state, others considered that NGO-ization made the movement susceptible to co-optation, contributing to its demobilization and depoliticization. The risk of co-optation reflects the dilemmas faced by contemporary feminist movements regarding goal displacement and adaptation to other priorities and agendas, amplified by NGOs’ financial dependency on state or private funds. Firstly, this study aims to explain the tensions engendered by co-optation and the insider/outsider dilemma faced by the contemporary feminist movement, and secondly, to explore the strategies developed by the feminist movement to resist or govern co-optation.
Digital or hashtag activism in social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook has gained popularity around the globe. Campaigns such as #MeToo and #YesAllWomen have drawn much needed attention to the problems of gender based violence and misogyny. This article is dedicated to a similar, but unique, campaign – #ЯнеБоюсьСказать (#IamNotScaredToSpeak) – that took place in Facebook’s Russian speaking community in July 2016. (It followed an identical campaign started in Ukraine, which subsequently crossed over into other former Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan.) The objective of this article is twofold. First, utilizing Discourse Analysis, I analyze posts associated with #IamNotScaredToSpeak, and argue that the campaign raised the visibility of the problem of sexual violence largely as a result of women's active participation in it. A number of women who decided to reveal their personal experiences and others who stood with them against rape culture, helped increase the significance of women's linguistic agency and made #IamNotScaredToSpeak the first large-scale feminist movement in Russia to date. Second, I will examine the specificity of the #IamNotScaredToSpeak campaign and argue that it was predominantly of a grass-roots nature with the self-organization and participation of ordinary people being crucial to the movement. By way of comparison, the #MeToo campaign, operating in the western context, was largely initiated and led by celebrities.